Lesson 5 Food and Drink
In this lesson, you will learn about:
- examples of food and drink
- ordering food in a restaurant
- discussing eating habits
- food and drink in Ulster & Scots poetry
- finding Ulster-Scots recipes
Food and Drink: Basic Vocabulary
- to eat
- to chew
- Creeshy biscuits
- butter biscuits
- short bread
- Dipped breid
- fried bread
- roundish loaf eg of wheaten bread
- baker's roll
- potato bread
- Prootas; prittas
- to boil
- Saft fruit
- ripe blackberries, strawberries etc
- seasoning; relish (as verb: to season)
- Wat tha tay
- make tea
- Milk strecht fae tha coo
- milk straight from the cow
- dinner (may be used to mean lunch/mid-day meal)
- Sit-doon tay
- a meal at the table
- Yer tay in yer haun
- a cup of tea not at the table
- packed lunch (sandwiches)
- Forenuin piece
- morning snack
- Aitin hoose
- starter/first course
- ice cream wafer
- takeaway meal
- to eat greedily
- crockery or china
- to dip
- Jaa box
- kitchen sink
Dialogue 1: Aitin oot
Here is a conversation which might be heard in a restaurant. See if you can work out what is happening. Eileen and Sam walk into a new restaurant which has just opened in town. Answers to the questions are at the bottom.
- It’s quare an gran here.
- Sure ye’r worth ivery penny.
- Wud ye be readie tae order?
- Ay. A'll hae tha beef and prootas wi neeps.
- An yersel madam
- All hae tha deuk a l’orange, please.
- Wud ye lek ocht tae drink?
- Naethin fur me, thanks.
- A’d lek a wee gless o rid wine.
- Is there oniethin else A can get ye?
- No thanks
- What is Sam’s reaction to the restaurant?
- What does Sam order from the menu?
- What does Eileen decide to order?
- How does the waiter ask if they would like anything to drink?
- Does anyone order a drink? If so, what is it?
Dialogue 2: In the fruit an veg shap
Mary and Alice discuss the food fads and table manners of Alice’s children. Try to translate the passage and answer the questions. This will help you identify some characteristic Ulster-Scots expressions, word order and verb forms. A translation and answers are at the bottom.
- Whit can a dae fur ye Alice?
- A’ll tak seiven pun wecht o’ prootas, sae a wull, an thon muckle neep forbye.
- Whit aboot yer carrots an pa’snips, or are ye no makkin broth the day?
- A luv a wheen o broth mysel, but d’ye see ma weans, they’re despert hard tae please.
- Ye’re owre saft wi’ them, Alice. Whit dae they lek?
- Noo yer askin’! The lassie’s ae thranlike wee skitter! She winnae ait flesh-mate ava. She says it’s gye teuch. Ice cream’s no teuch, min ye!
- A wudnae gie her oany puddin if she winnae ait her denner. Whit wye’s the weechiel?
- He’s waur nor the lassie, an he taks efter his faither forbye. He sits chowin wi his mooth apen. Thon scunners me!
- Ye hae yer hauns fu wi thae twa, Alice!
- Ye’re no wrang, Mary!
- How does Alice indicate the quantity of potatoes she wants?
- What word at the end of a sentence means ‘as well as’ - used when Alice is selecting her vegetables and describing her son?
- What phrase does Alice use to give a strong emphasis when she introduces the subject of her children?
- What word is used to mean ‘those’?
- The present tense of ‘will’ is ‘wull’ in Ulster-Scots. Can you find the word that means ‘will not/won’t’?
- Ulster-Scots speakers sometimes emphasise an opinion or feeling using understatement, eg. using ‘no’ plus a word of opposite meaning. Thus, ‘It’s cold’ might be expressed as ‘It’s no wairm’. Where does Alice use this form to express her agreement with Mary?
Towns in Ulster-Scots heartlands such as the Ards Peninsula have restored some of the traditional street names. This one from Greyabbey or ‘Greba’ seems to be commemorating a less than satisfactory experience of local food!
Literary links: Food and drink in traditional poetry
In Lesson 1 we looked briefly at Burns’s ‘Address to a Haggis’. Such traditional local food was celebrated in Scots and Ulster-Scots poetry because it helped to foster people’s sense of pride in their national identity. Robert Burns also wrote in praise of whisky, or ‘Scotch Drink’:
Let other poets raise a fracas
‘Bout vines, an’ wines, an’ drunken Bacchus,
An’ crabbed names an’ stories wrack us,
An’ grate our lug,
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,
In glass or jug...
On thee aft Scotland chows her cood,
In souple scones, the wale o’ food!
Or tumbling in the boiling flood
wi’ kale an’ beef;
But when thou pours thy strong heart’s blood,
There thou shines chief.
Several generations before the Famine made the potato a symbol of the suffering of the poor in Ireland, James Orr celebrated the humble root vegetable as a kind of ‘super food’ which nourished and empowered the poorest classes. In his ode ‘To the Potatoe’ (Orr's spelling) he portrayed it as an icon, claiming it gave Ireland the opportunity to feed herself and assert independence. In the following verse he shows how welcome a tasty meal of ‘champ’ is to hungry farm labourers:
Sweet to the boons that blythely enter
At dinner-time, the graise in centre,
Champ’t up wi’ kail, that pey the planter,
Beans, pa’snips, peas!
Gosh! Cud a cautious Covenanter
Wait for the grace?
gang of workers
devout Presbyterian with strong Calvinist views
James Campbell, the weaver Bard of Ballynure and a contemporary of Orr, added pork or bacon to the list of foods worthy of a poetic ode. As we can see from the following verse he was a fan of the ‘Ulster fry’!
Thy praise, O bacon! shall be sung,
Unto new life thou hast me brung;
To see my brace wi' flitches strung,
Just in my sight;
My auld pan shall be neatly hung
This very night...
Some like their spirits up to cheer,
With good strong whiskey, or brown beer,
Some like their brains for to keep clear,
By wine applying;
Nae music ever charmed my ear,
Like pork a frying.
(From ‘The Epicure’s Address to Bacon’)
Ulster and Scots people are world famous for their hospitality and tasty cooking. To find some recipes, new and old, which make use of traditional ingredients see the Ulster-Scots Agency's website. Go to the resource/booklet titled ‘Prootas and Fadge Workbook’.
Translation of dialogue 1 and answers to questions
- It’s very grand/ posh in here.
- Sure, you’re worth every penny.
- May I take your order now?
- Yes. I’ll have the steak and potatoes with turnip.
- And for you, madam?
- I’ll have the duck a l’orange, please.
- Would you like anything to drink with the meal?
- Nothing for me, thank you.
- I’d like a glass of red wine, please.
- Is there anything else I can get for you?
- No thanks
- He thinks it is rather grand and’ posh’ looking.
- Sam orders steak and potatoes with some turnip.
- Eileen decides to order the duck a l’orange.
- He asks “Wud ye lek ocht tae drink?”
- Yes. Sam orders a glass of red wine.
Translation of dialogue 2 and answers to questions
- What can I do for you Alice?
- I’ll take seiven pounds of potatoes, so I will, and that big turnip as well.
- What about your carrots and parsnips, or are you not making soup today?
- I love a drop of soup myself, but see my children, they’re terribly hard to please.
- You’re too indulgent with them, Alice. What do they like?
- Now you’re asking! The girl is one stubborn little rascal. She won’t eat meat at all. She says it’s very tough. Ice cream’s not tough, mind you!
- I wouldn’t give her any dessert if she won’t eat her dinner. What’s the little boy like?
- He’s worse than the girl, and he resembles his father too. He sits chewing with his mouth open. That disgusts me!
- You have your hands full with those two, Alice!
- You’re right, Mary!
- She asks for ‘seiven pun wecht’ – literally seven pounds weight
- She begins ‘D’ye see’ to involve the listener before she talks about her ‘weans’.
- ‘Ye’re no wrang’